This article is one of my Adventure in Istanbul series, which mostly records my food experience in Istanbul with my boyfriend during a ten-day vacation. Scouting out restaurants was mostly done by my boyfriend Thomas. He also did a great job navigating the often confusing streets and ordering the right foods when there was only Turkish on the menu.
Traveling to Istanbul in October, nothing was more comfortable than sitting outside under the warm sun, sipping a small cup of Turkish coffee.
I came across these old fashioned coffee shops at the market on the Asian side of Istanbul. I especially liked the carts displaying the colorful coffee cups and pots, which also serve the practical function of preparing the coffee itself. The cart has a charcoal stove in the middle. When you order coffee, the waiter will add the very finely ground coffee, a couple sugar cubes, and some water into a small copper pot, boil the coffee over hot coals, then carefully pour the coffee into the delicate and bright colored cup. It’s served with a piece of Turkish delight. It’s very pleasant to just hold up the small cup, look at the fresh foam floating on top, and smell the bitter fragrance. With a sip of the hot coffee, everything will be left behind and you’ll focus on enjoying the bittersweet flavor, that bit of ground coffee lingering on your tongue, and the warmth of the sun.
When you have Turkish coffee in a cafe, most of the time it will come with Turkish delight, a soft candy that may have nuts in it. In Istanbul, I saw Turkish delight almost everywhere, but I had this really nice plate of them in old town. It’s a fancy coffee shop in which the first floor sells Turkish desserts and the second floor houses a cafe to enjoy delicious beverages. When we ordered the coffee, it came with a plates of several kinds of Turkish delight, with pistachios, hazelnuts, and almonds. The nuts in the candies were very fresh and crisp, and the candies were not too sweet. I liked the chocolate pistachio delight the most.
Another dessert I enjoyed with coffee was baklava, a very sweet dessert consisting of thin layers of pastry filled with nuts and covered in honey. This is the kind of dessert that’s so sweet that I need coffee or tea to go with it. This particular one had a very rich flavor of cheese – I suspect there might have been some cheese stuffed some between the pastry layers, and this made the dessert very rich.
I didn’t have too many desserts in Istanbul, but I enjoyed the ones I did have. As for Turkish coffee, though, I had it several times daily. Next time you’re in Istanbul, be sure to take a break from the busy traveling and sit down to enjoy a hot cup of coffee and a piece of Turkish delight under the warm sun. Happiness will embrace you.
See more posts on my adventure in Istanbul for delicious food pictures and introductions at:
Adventure in Istanbul – Colorful Street Food
Adventure in Istanbul – Dinner at Karaköy Lokantası
Adventure in Istanbul – Enjoy Turkish Meze
Adventure in Istanbul – Dinner at Meze by Lemon Tree